Local Market Opportunity Assessment

 
 
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 Purpose of the project
  • To provide a local food system assessment at the regional level, namely, the Calgary and Edmonton regions.
  • To increase awareness and understanding of consumers buying local food through direct marketing channels such as farmers’ markets, farm retail and community supported agriculture (CSA) / farm box programs as well as through other market channels such as ethnic grocery stores; health food, natural or organic food stores and restaurants serving local food.
  • To provide market channel/consumer segmentation information for target marketing.

Value of the study
  • This is the first regional study assessing the demand for local food in Alberta.
  • The regional marketing information is of interest to producers selling into a specific region.
  • The study used online survey methodology that yielded a larger sample size allowing in-depth behavioral questions to be asked for 10 different market channels.

Highlights from study reports
  • Report on local food demand in the Calgary region
    • Most shop multiple market channels for food. Buyers of local food were identified in the following segments:
      • Mainstream (35%) – shop more often in supermarkets, mass merchandisers and club stores as well as at restaurants and other eating establishments.
      • Specialized (25%) – shop more often in health food, natural or organic food stores and specialty stores, also farmers’ markets and through online-only suppliers.
      • Rural (22%) – shop more often in farm retail, farmers’ markets and small grocery stores.
      • Fringe (11%) – shop more often in drug stores and convenience stores, also in ethnic grocery stores.
      • Alternative (7%) – shop more often through buying clubs and CSA or farm box programs.
    • Ease of local food identification has improved in supermarkets showing higher certainty about food origin but not as high as in farmers’ markets and other direct-to-consumer market channels.
    • Top three food attributes that respondents would like to see in local food are:
      • No preservatives / additives / fillers (48%)
      • No chemicals (41%)
      • High quality ingredients (40%)
    • While beef is one of the top three local food items purchased, there is still a strong unmet consumer demand.
  • Report on local food demand in the Edmonton region
    • On average, respondents shop at more than five market channels to purchase local food. Buyers of local food were identified in the following segments:
      • Simply Good (32%) – shop more often in farmers’ markets, specialty stores and farm retail.
      • Keep it Pure (24%) – not different from average in the channels they used to purchase local food.
      • Health Matters (23%) – overrepresented among club store purchasers.
      • Organic Attributes (21%) – more likely to buy local food in drug stores and convenience stores as well as health food, organic or natural food stores.
    • Ease of local food identification has improved in supermarkets showing higher certainty about food origin but not as high as in farmers’ markets and other direct-to-consumer market channels.
    • Top three food attributes respondents would like to see in local food are:
      • No preservatives / additives / fillers (44%)
      • Complete list of ingredients (36%)
      • No chemicals (36%)
    • While beef is one of the top three local food items purchased, there is still a strong unmet consumer demand.

Methodology of the research
  • The research involved three components: regional food trend reviews, focus groups to identify issues of interest relating to local food and online consumer surveys.
  • Focus groups were conducted to provide insight into consumer perspectives and allowed testing of various question alternatives to meet the study’s objectives. All participants were internet users (as they would be in an online survey) and responsible for or had major responsibility for purchasing food for their households.
  • Online consumer surveys are non-probability samples. Non-probability methods are used extensively in marketing research studies with opt-in panels. The term “opt-in” refers to the fact that participants can volunteer to be a part of the panel, or are recruited from a variety of sources that are incentivized to join and participate using points, prizes, cash or contributions to charity.
  • The survey was completed by over 1,000 food purchasers aged 18 years and older. Within the population of panel members, quotas were used for age, gender and geographic location based on the profile of household maintainers in the region as reported by Statistics Canada in the 2011 National Household Survey.
  • The study results are based on those consumers conscious of buying local, which is determined by the consumer looking for information on where the food comes from and information of product origin being made available. The results reflected market opportunity for local food purchases but likely understated consumer purchases of food produced locally due to asymmetric information of product origin.
Disclaimer and Permission to Use
The study reports are provided in PDF format for educational use. They may be copied and reproduced for personal use only. For all other purposes permission from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) must be obtained. The responsibility for opinions and factual matter as expressed in this report rests solely with the author. The report does not constitute endorsement by the AF of the expressed opinion, nor affirmation of the accuracy of information herein provided.


For more information about the study or to seek permission to use the study, please contact:
    Mimi Lee
    New Venture Economist
    Local/Domestic Market Expansion Section
    Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
    4709 44 Avenue
    Stony Plain, AB T7Z 1N4
    780-968-3552
    email: mimi.lee@gov.ab.ca
 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Mimi Lee.
This document is maintained by Abby Verstraete.
This information published to the web on June 30, 2016.